Welcome to the Irish Culture & Customs newsletter which is published every fortnight or so and sent out to more than 4100 readers all over the world. You are receiving this newsletter because you signed up for it - God Bless you! If you'd like to read past issues, they are archived at:
If, for any reason, you wish to unsubscribe, instructions are at the very end - but we do hope you'll stay with us. And if you need to update your info' or change your email address, you can do that at the end, too.

Greetings and blessings to all,

The warmest of welcomes to everyone and a special hello to our newest readers. Many thanks for joining us and if you enjoy our musings and meanderings, please feel free to forward them to family and friends.

Meanwhile, we hope this edition finds you and yours in good spirits, good health and good company. We especially hope that if you're in Ireland, you're managing to stay dry and in good humour. From all accounts, this is one of the wettest summers in years and you must be getting right fed up with it. Especially since the forecasters are saying it won't improve until the end of next month!

Meanwhile, here in our Ohio Valley, we're desperate for rain! Isn't that always the way? We might get some showers today, but we're not counting on it - although we did have what Americans call a "gully washer" this past Sunday - St. Swithin's Day; supposedly that means it will rain for the next forty days, and while we have had some sprinkles every day since then, it's not enough. Not like Ireland where today is predicted to be the 50th soggy day in a row. Until recently, people used to joke about Ireland's "soft weather" but then, a few years back, summers became warm and sunny. Sorry to say, not this year. The barbecue grills are rusting, umbrellas and wellies are flying off shop shelves and families who can afford it are escaping to warmer climes like Florida - especially now that the dollar has sunk even lower against the euro. If you'd like to see the misery summed up in one photo, take a look at our Wednesday quote on the home page. Many thanks to Claire Hegarty who lives in Dublin and works for Bord Fáilte.

Enough about the weather - as Oscar Wilde wrote in The Importance of Being Earnest, "Don't talk to me about the weather...whenever people talk to me about the weather, I always feel quite certain that they mean something else."

So with that bit of good advice, enough of the blitherin' - on with the update!

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From the mailbag
Quips, Quotes, Proverbs & Toasts
A Bit of the Wit
Joke of The Week
Did You Know
Know Your Writers
The week That Is
Leave 'em Laughing

What follows are news clips from around the counties and the world. Links for more news stories can be found on our web site here


Aer Lingus to begin Gatwick flights
Aer Lingus is to begin flying to London's second biggest airport, Gatwick Airport, from the end of October. The service will operate from Dublin four times a day.

Now all you need is a cúpla letters
Teaching Irish through mobile-phone text may be new, but native speakers have developed their own SMS lingo. Examples are: 7an (seachtain, week); an8 (anocht, tonight); grma (go raibh maith agat, thank you); cgl (ceart go leor, ok).

Save Tara
Campaigners protesting against the route of the M3 motorway near the Hill of Tara are to hold a "Love Tara" march and demonstration in Dublin on this coming Saturday. For more details, please click
ED. NOTE: We earnestly encourage all of our readers in Dublin to show your support for the preservation of ireland's precious heritage by taking part. Thanks!

Dublin: This past week, history was made in St Patrick's Cathedral when Catholic priest, Fr Enda McDonagh, was made an ecumenical canon of its chapter for the first time since the Reformation.

Armagh: Pigs put in an appearance at county show
For the first time a selection of pigs joined the cattle, sheep and horses on display and in competition with each other at the Armagh County agricultural show which took place at Gosford National Park last weekend.

Cavan: Record-breaker receives another award
Handballer Pat Brady from Mullahoran, who among other achievements became the first Irish player to win the US Open Singles in its fifty-five year history, has received the Vodafone Handballer of the Year Award. Paul, who was a member of last year's Mullahoran team which took the county title, at present holds the All-Ireland Senior Singles title for the third year in succession and is the current World and US Open Champion also. With his clubmate from Kingscourt, Michael Finnegan, he also took the doubles title in the US.

Cavan: Bailiborough to have new festival
At the beginning of August, a four-day festival will be staged at Gray's Field on the Virginia Road It will include a Horse Fair and auction and an evening Charity Auction in the Hotel Bailie with all the auctioneers in the town taking part in the proceedings.

Cork: Centenary time capsule for Kilavullen
Just before closing for the summer the children of Killavullen National School took part in a ceremony to mark the school's centenary year by burying a time capsule. The capsule, which is due to be opened in fifty years' time, was blessed by Father Dan Gould and its burial was accompanied by the releasing of a flock of homing pigeons, owned by Jimmy Farrell of Mallow Pigeon Club.

Dublin: Councillor bemoans disappearing names
What was once known as Gorse Hill has been renamed Holywell following the development of an estate in the area between Swords and Kinsealy, and this does not please Councillor Peter Coyle, who has questioned the way in which decisions are taken on place names. According to Councillor Coyle the estate is in Nevinstown and the traditional name of the area is Gorse Hill. He is now calling for the council to have more say in names chosen for new developments, and for local historians to be consulted, in order to preserve the traditional townland names in the area.

Galway: Never mind the citizens, make sure the horses are safe
While the citizens of Galway have been without safe drinking water for the past five months, moves have been made to ensure that the horses taking part in the Galway Races at the end of this month can drink the water without getting sick. As part of a major refurbishment of the Ballybrit racecourse a €95,000 water filtration system has been installed. Racegoers will also be able to avail themselves of the safe water supply.

Kerry: Mesolithic find in Killarney lakes
A find by archaeologist Michael Gibbons has indicated that there was a human presence in the area of the Killarney lakes in the Mesolithic period, some fifteen hundred years before the date of the site at Ferriters Cove, discovered in the 1990s. Gibbons was leading a party of English enthusiasts when the spear head was discovered by one of the party. Known as a Bann flake, which confirms the Mesolithic date, the artefact was found below the low water mark on Ross Island, close to the ancient copper mines.

Kildare: Memorial unveiled in Newbridge
The plaque is located at the Town Hall and is dedicated to all soldiers from the Newbridge area who died either in wars or on peace-keeping duties. The plaque was unveiled by Newbridge's mayor, Councillor Marty Aspel, and blessed by Father Joe McDermott.

Kildare: Surprise win for Bláthnaid
Expecting an entirely different name to be called out, Bláthnaid McKenna from Tullyeast, the Curragh, was surprised to hear herself announced as the new Miss Ireland at the Silversprings Hotel in Cork at the weekend. Bláthnaid, who is studying French and Italian at Trinity College Dublin, also works part time at the Curragh racecourse.

Kilkenny: Visitors from Newfoundland for festival
As part of the Festival of the Sea more than eighty visitors from Newfoundland are in the St Mullins, Graiguenamanagh and Inistioge areas of the county where they are learning more about the history of the area. Local historian Frank Clarke took the group on a guided tour of St Mullins, after which they visited Woodstock Gardens in Inistioge where a commemorative tree was planted to mark their visit. John Mannion then delivered a lecture in St Mary's Church entitled "The Migration and Change of Inistioge Immigrants to Newfoundland between 1784 and 1884". A history conference in Graigenamanagh Library, a boat trip on the River Barrow and a visit to Duiske Abbey were also included in the itinerary.

Leitrim: Romance return to Manorhamilton
Matchmaking would appear to be alive and well in Leitrim. In mid-July romance returned to Manorhamilton when Romantic Interludes, long a feature of dances in Glenfarne's Ballroom of Romance, were revived and overseen by band leader Frank Chambers, whose band featured in the television play "Ballroom of Romance".

Longford: College closes after eighty years
The Ardagh Convent and School of Rural Domestic Economy, latterly known as St Brigid's College for Further Education and Training, has closed its doors. Established in 1927 shortly after the Free State came into being, the school was opened in Fetherstone Lodge, purchased by the Sisters of Mercy from Longford Convent for the purpose of training future farmers' wives. The students in the early years learned domestic science, dairy and poultry, laundry, cookery, and arts and crafts.

Longford: Commemoration for archaeologist priest
An exhibition and booklet formed part of the commemoration of the life and work of Father Joseph Mullooly which took place in Lanesboro last weekend. The event was launched in St Mary's Hall on Friday and on Saturday Bishop Colm O'Reilly unveiled a plaque at the original home of Father Mullooly in Lehery. Father Mullooly was a self-taught archaeologist who discovered the ancient temple of Mithras in Rome while ministering there in the mid-nineteenth century. As part of the celebratory weekend Father Paul Lawlor gave a talk on the Lehery priest's life, and Bishop Colm O'Reilly led a concelebrated Mass at St Mary's Church.

Mayo: A new rectory after 30 years
For the first time in thirty years a new rectory has been built in the combined Church of Ireland diocese of Killala, Tuam and Achonry. The rectory, the new home for the Rev. Neal O'Raw, is located in Crossmolina and was blessed by Bishop Henderson. Among those attending the official ceremony were Dr Mick Loftus and local parish priest Father Michael Conway. The Rev. Neal O'Raw spent the first twenty years of his working life as a lorry driver, and was thirty-nine before he began his studies to become a rector. His new home, which will also double as a parish office, is built on the site of the Church of Ireland school known as the Boreen which closed in the 1970s, and the school's former pupils were among those invited to the opening.

Mayo: Melissa achieves a first for her school
Melissa Ní Bhrogain from Aughleam in the north of the county has created a new record for her national school, since she has completed eight years at the school without once missing a day. The twelve-year-old, the daughter of Una and John Ó Brogain, has just completed her education at Scoil Breadain in Aughleam and her achievement was honoured by the principal Doirín Ní Orsaigh and class teacher Gearóid Ó Muirithe.

Meath: Art on display in Clonmellon
After holding a garden party in their home, Ballinlough Castle in Clonmellon recently, owners Nick and Alice Nugent are to hold a slightly different event, an art exhibition. For two weekends the works in wood of sculptor Liam O'Neill, whose base is in Galway, have been on display for six hours each day. This is not O'Neill's first castle display as five years ago his works were exhibited in the gardens of Birr Castle. Among those who include the sculptor's work in their collections are President Mary McAleese and the Emperor of Japan.

Meath: Noel has his very own Tommy Tiernan show
When Ray D'Arcy, after interviewing Jimmy Saville, decided to inaugurate a similar feature on his radio programme, Noel Whelan from Johnstown in Navan was one of the first to apply. Noel sent in his letter to the "Dream Factory", asking that comedian Tommy Tiernan put on a show in his sitting room. The radio crew, complete with Ray D'Arcy, came to Noel's Priory Avenue home last week to set up for the live broadcast, and Tommy Tiernan fulfilled the "dream" by giving a special performance for Noel. Some thirty family members and friends joined Noel for his private comedy show.

Offaly: Singer to fight for his turbary rights
Country singer John Hogan is preparing to ask his solicitor to look into the position of his turbary rights near Croghan, where he is one of the last people to cut turf using the traditional slean. John was among a number of people given access to the bog by the Forestry Commission for a yearly fee, and says he has not been sent a bill for the last couple of years although he has asked for one on a number of occasions. Recently he received a letter from Coillte giving him seven days to stop cutting and to leave the land, and this time has now expired. The land has been put on the market though to date it has not been sold.

Wicklow: Market Square finds its true vocation
For the first time in thirty years Market Square in Wicklow town has been used for its designated purpose. A total of ten stalls featured in this inaugural event, including one from the nearby Dominican Farm, and the Baking House in Newtownmountkennedy took a stall to present their bread and pastries. Honey and beeswax from Knockrobin was for sale, as were eggs, juices and jams from Crockers Farm in Glenealy.

London, England: Clareman has green fingers
Gerry O'Brien, originally from Ogonnelloe, who runs The Churchill Arms in Kensington, has over the past twenty-three years won numerous awards for the floral displays at his premises. It was only natural, then, that when the Chelsea Flower Show decided to include a new category entitled "Pubs in Bloom", that Gerry would enter the competition. It is probably just as unsurprising that Gerry and his staff at The Churchill Arms took first prize in the competition, although much effort had to be expended on the watering eighty-five window boxes and eighty-four hanging baskets.

Camden, England - Sligo woman in hit band
One member of a UK-based band known as the oldest band in the world is a native of Tubbercurry. Peggy Bohan left the town in the 1960s, after working for some time in the Basta factory. Through her involvement in the Camden Irish Pensioners Choir she volunteered to audition for a group which has now become famous as The Zimmers, and at sixty-five years of age Peggy is one of the youngest of the forty members. Their recording of The Who classic "My Generation" went straight into the charts in the UK last month.

Milwaukee, Wisconsin USA
Co. Clare to be central theme of world's largest Irish Festival
A tourism delegation led by Clare County Council and the Clare Tourist Council will depart for the USA on 13th August next where it will showcase Clare's tourist attractions to over 150,000 festival goers during the four-day event.
Learn more aboot the festival here:
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Do you have a special event coming up? Whatever the occasion, from weddings to anniversaries, baptisms to birthdays, we have the perfect gift! And to make it as convenient as possible, we've combined gifts with holiday themes from throughout our shop on to one page. So come browse around a bit and check out our inspirational Rosary beads of genuine Connemara marble, Bewley's tea sets, marvelous "dear to my heart" mugs many other great gift ideas.


Last time, laurie wanted to know where in Yeats' writings she might find the quotation: "Being Irish, I have an abiding sense of tragedy which sustains me through temporary periods of joy."
Big Mama gave us the following link; you have to register, but you should be able to dig it up - and when you do, please let us know!

Larry Purcell also wrote in; he thinks it might be among the letters that Yeats wrote to George Russell complaining about George Bernard Shaw!
ED. NOTE: So, we don't have a definitive answer yet.

The O'Duill's of Dublin who kindly answer ancestry questions on our web site have also stepped in to help out while Aideen, our native Irish translator who is taking a much needed sabbatical. Specifically, it's Sean who has offered to assist with translations. Go raibh maith agat!
Irish Fireside Podcasts
Get the inside scoop on Irish travel. Each podcast episode links you to an audio or video file on visiting Ireland. A highspeed internet connection is the best way to enjoy their podcasts. Click "Listen" on each episode to find show notes and links.

Petition to save the Hill of Tara
Maureen O'Rourke sent us a reminder about the petition. Have you signed it yet? With furtive night-time "construction" taking place,God only knows how much damage is being done. If you want to join the protest. please click

A sunny day at a Killarney Beach
Just so we don't forget that the sun does come out!

Galway Arts Festival
Going on even as we write this. Take a look at what's on offer - very impressive!

Anna Livia Dublin International Opera Festival
Did you know that the name "Anna Livia" is the personification of the River Liffey? In any event, here's a link to everything you need to know about this year's festival:

Shamrock National Idol Search
Like to sing? Are you any good? Here's your opportunity to be discovered! First round is over, bit it's not to late to jump in:

The Railway Preservation Society of Ireland
We've always had a fondness for steam locomotives and we've had the good fortune to grow up in the UK while famous trains such as the Flying Scotsman and the Golden Arrow were still in operation. On this site, you can learn all about the Irish equivalents:

The Perseid meteor shower is coming
and experts say it should be a great show. With many thanks to Mike Horan who sent us this link:

Free Mammograms!
Do you know of a woman who can't afford a mammogram? Here's how you can help. Go to the Breast Cancer site and click on their free mammogram link; if they get enough clicks , they'll be able to donate at least one free mammogram a day to underprivileged women. It takes just a minute and there's no cost involved:

Free Pet Food!
Last but certainly not least - our ongoing gift to AG in California and all friends to animals, please click this link today and everyday. It only takes a second to feed an animal. Thanks!

Free People Food!
It only takes a second to feed hungry people, too:
When you can see the Mountains of Mourne, that's a sure sign it'll rain. Tis the angel's'll be having a pee.
From Da by Hugh Leonard
With current conditions being what they are, it seemed appropriate to re-publish the following:
You know it's summer in Ireland when the rain gets warmer.
Hal Roach

Our good friend Audrey sent us this one which we immediately adopted and adapted. This is especially for all of us who have been at the receiving end of Irish begrudgery:

Maeve goes to the hairdressers. "Well, Maeve, what brings you in. It must be at least a year" says the hairdresser. "It's a special occasion, says Maeve, "I'm going to Rome." "Rome?!" exclaims the hairdresser. "You don't want to go there - it's expensive, crowded, and terribly hot this time of year." "Really?" says Maeve. "You've been then?" "Well no" says the hairdresser, "but I know them that has. What airline are you flying?" "We found great flights directly from London to Rome on Alitalia; it was cheaper to fly from Shannon to Gatwick and connect there." "Oh dear" says the hairdresser. "Alitalia has the worst reputation for delays. Where are you staying?" Maeve brightens up and says "W found this lovely little place off the Via Veneto..." - the hairdresser interrupts..."the Via Veneto! Good God, woman that is such a tourist trap and you have to be really careful about the pickpockets. And I suppose you'll be planning on an audience with his holiness?" "Well", says Maeve "we were rather hoping...."the hairdresser interrupts again. "You might as well forget that. You'll be lucky you get to see him over the heads and shoulders of the thousands in front of you."
Two weeks later, Maeve returns to the hairdressers. "Well," says the hairdresser, "How was your holiday?" "You won't believe it," says Maeve. "Our flight was on time and we were up-graded to first class; the hotel had just been re-done and the price of our room was 50% off, the weather was perfect the entire time and when we were in St. Peter's Square, we were tapped on the shoulder and asked if we would like to have a private audience with the Pope. We were shown into his chamber and when I knelt down to kiss his ring, he whispered in my ear where did you get the hair do from hell?"
1. 2007 is the 100th anniversary of the Irish National Anthem - The Soldier's Song, which was written by Peadar Kearney, an uncle of Brendan Behan? He also wrote the music, along with Patrick Heeney.
2. The anthem was originally written in English before being translated into the Irish Amhran na bhFiann' by Liam Ó Rinn?
3. The chorus was formally chosen as the National Anthem in 1926, replacing 'God Save Ireland'?
First off, the answers to our last quiz

Redemption Falls by Joseph O'Connor
The Bird Woman by Kerry Hardy
The Gathering by Anne Engirt

A tip of the cap and a pat on the back for our latest list of Irish bibliophiles:

Pam Stead
Lynn, MA

Bill Smith
North Carolina

Mike More
Fact-filled site about the island of Ireland

Helen Boil
If you're interested in the Irish spelling of your last name and what it means, this is a very interesting page:

Want to see your name and favorite web site in our next newsletter?
Who wrote:
1. Irish Furniture
2. Cumin na ban and the Irish Revolution
3. Connemara: Listening to the Wind
Hint: They're all recent non-fiction titles from Read Ireland
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Weddings, Anniversaries, Birthdays - whatever the occasion, we can help make it memorable with our wide range of gifts and novelties. Come take a look. We have free shipping on orders over $125.00 and every order over $50 will get a free gift !  Also, the Celtic Attic Cookbook is ready in PD. and Print versions. Full color! Print copies are all signed by the author. And don't forget to enter the Monthly Free Giveaway.  Happy shopping from all of us at the celtic Attic!
But first. the answer to our last head-banger:
Q. What do the following words have in common?
A. If you remove the first letter and place it at the end of the word it spells it backwards. We thought this would be a bit of a challenge. Were we ever wrong! As always, our brilliant Riddle People were in to form and we received hundreds of correct answers. But first in was A James Kelly of Orlando, Florida - well done!
ED. NOTE: Before we forget - last time we somehow mixed up our mary's and didn't credit Mary Ruggiero for being first. Sorry!

And now for our next skull scratcher:
After teaching his class all about roman numerals (X = 10, IX=9 and so on) the teacher asked his class to draw a single continuous line and turn IX into 6. The only stipulation the teacher made was that the pen could not be lifted from the paper until the line was complete.

1. Article: Watching the Weather on St. Swithin's Day
2. Article: Irish Landmarks - The Abbey Theatre
3. Article: Constance Georgina de Markievicz
Suffragette, Socialist, Soldier
4. Article: A Tribute To Jimmy Kennedy
5. Article: Counties of Ireland - Antrim
6. Emblems of Ireland - Irish Linen
7. Irish Kitchen - Ballymaloe Salad with Shanagarry Dressing
8. Basic Irish - Going on Holiday
9. Kids' Ireland - How The Causeway Came To Be
10. Music Review - Irish Ways
11. Circle of prayer - A Nnew Novena Cycle has been posted. Novena #1 began on July 16 and continues through July 24. We haven't had any new prayer requests, but please continue to pray for all of those still on our list: Margaret's baby girl; Liadan, the sister of Bridget's former publisher Ethna MkKiernan; Penny; who is scheduled for surgery; And please don't forget Hartson, Pauline, Heather and so many others who need our prayers or meditations - , especially our men and women in the military serving their country all over the world. Please God, they will all be home safe and sound soon.
12. Trivia Contest: Have you entered our July Contest? There's still plenty of time. All entries must be in by midnight, July 31st

So that's the long and the short of it until next time. If you're celebrating a birthday, anniversary or other important event between now and then. we hope it's an occasion filled with joy. Meanwhile, we leave you with this lovely blessing by Fr. Andrew Greely:
May the sun shine bright on your joyous days,
And the rain refresh you through peaceful nights;
May summer show you God's wondrous ways,
And prepare you for heaven's great delights.

And as they say in Ireland, mind yourself!

Slan agus beannacht!

Bridget & Russ
Get down on your knees and thank God you're still on your feet!
Help keep the newsletter coming
Officially, our annual dollar drive is over but we are always happy to receive donations at any time of year. If you'd like to help us out you can send a little something through PayPal:
and to this account:

or by snail mail to:
Bridget & Russ Haggerty
5670 Meryton Place
Cincinnati, OH 45224.

Go raibh maith agat in advance for your generosity and kindness.
Please check with the Wild Geese - they have a huge listing of events and we don't want to duplicate their efforts:
If we receive a unique event not mentioned there we will be happy to list it here.

Galway, Ireland - now through July 29
Galway Arts Festival 2007 features over 400 writers, artists, performers and musicians from all over the world. For complete details, please click

Ireland - Now through August 11
Fair City Stars tread the boards this summer in Ray Cooney's hilarious farce Caught in The Net . For nationwide tour details, please click

Dublin, Ireland - Now through August 18
Tall Tales Theatre Company celebrates its tenth birthday in collaboration with Bewleys Café Theatre by presenting a season of new Irish plays by women. All performances s daily at 1.00pm [includes light lunch]. For more details, please click

Estes park, Colorado - September 6-9th 2007
31st annual Longs Peak Scottish Irish Highland Festival. It's a great time for the whole family with Irish dance, piping and drumming, massed bands, jousting whiskey tasting, and more. . For details, please visit:

A rabbi is walking slowly Eyre Square when a gust of wind blows his hat from his head. The hat is being blown down the path, but he is an old man, using a cane, and he can't walk fast enough to catch the hat. Across the way a young man sees what has happened and rushes over to grab the hat and returns it to the rabbi.

"I don't think I would have been able to catch my hat," says the rabbi. "Thank you very much." The rabbi then places his hand on the man's shoulder and says, "May God bless you."

The young man thinks to himself, "I've been blessed by the rabbi. This must be my lucky day!" So he goes to the Galway Races, and in the first race he sees there is a horse named Stetson at 20 to 1. He bets 50 euros, and sure enough, the horse comes in first.

In the second race he sees a horse named Fedora at 30 to 1, so he bets it all and this horse comes in first also. Finally, at the end of the day, he returns home to his wife. When she asks him where he's been, he explains how he caught the rabbi's hat and was blessed by him and then went to the Galway Races and started winning on horses that had a hat in their names. "So where's the money?" she asks.

"I lost it all in the ninth race. I bet on a horse named Chateau and it lost."

"You egit, Chateau is a house; Chapeau is a hat!"

"It doesn't matter," he said. "The winner was some Japanese horse named Yarmulke."